Can You #TreatYoself Too Much?

There's a new hashtag on Instagram. #TreatYoself. First, I reread that about four different times to make sure it wasn't, in fact, TREAT YOURSELF. Nope, apparently, I'm just not cool enough to drop the U. Millennials. Sigh.

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In this day and age of #yolo, (You Only Live Once for those of you Millennial acronym impaired) have we actually gone too far with the treating ourselves? How much is good self care and how much is irresponsibly draining our bank accounts?

The first thing I noticed when I visited the #treatyoself page on Instagram were a lot of pictures of food. Truffle fries, donuts, and chocolate stuffed pancakes, oh my! Wait. Where were those chocolate stuffed pancakes from? Because they looked BOMB. I think a little decadent food every now and then is a great way to treat yourself. I can tell you that a good night of music and cooking at home with a good bottle of wine and fresh produce is one of the BEST things I can do to treat myself. The problem for me is knowing when to draw the line. Because it may be "treating myself" to buy that $70 bottle of wine I've always wanted to try, but will it still be treating myself if I can't pay rent at the end of the month?

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I also wanted to explore other ways that I could treat myself. Like I said, I saw a lot of pictures of food on that Instagram page. I also saw a lot of travel pics. But what are a couple simple ways that I can treat myself in day to day life?

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Sometimes to Take Two Steps Forward, You Need to Take One Step Back

It's been a minute since I've written a blog because, well, life. And, to be honest, I've been feeling a little conflicted about my message. Last November, I was laid off from my serving job and I took it as a sign that I was done with waiting tables and on to the next stage of my life as a writer and actress. And everyone walked off into the sunset, stayed in love forever without fighting, and could eat as many pieces of dark chocolate as they liked without gaining any fat on their thighs. THE END.

But the fact of the matter is, that those six months made me extremely anxious, depressed, and more hopeless than the Cavs in the NBA finals. Sure, I had extra time. And I DID accomplish a couple small feats, like finishing my spec script and applying to a bunch of writing fellowships. But the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty about how I would continue to pay my bills started to eat away at me. What was supposed to be the best time of my life ended up being the worst.

It also turns out that I HATE freelance and copywriting. From afar it seems great. You write on your own schedule so you have time to tend to all your creative passions! Except at fifteen dollars per article about E-commerce tips or WordPress Customer Service plugins, which I know absolutely nothing about and, therefore, took a minimum of three hours to research and write, it would take me approximately NINE HOURS to make FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS. It took me about four days to quit that job with a big 'ol, "Sorry, I'm not sorry."

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Meanwhile, things like headshots, acting class, and, well, FOOD, were draining the bank. Something had to give.

On a plane ride back from visiting my family in Ohio, because 1- I love them, and 2- I didn't have to pay for food while I was there, (But mostly one, family, mostly one!!!😘) I was watching the movie Paris Can Wait, which is all about food and wine throughout the Parisian countryside. I got such overwhelming JOY from watching the leading man talk about food and wine. Way more than I had felt in the past six months banging my head against my desk urging paid work to come from ANYTHING besides writing about Woocommerce (I mean, what even IS that?), that I got off that plane and IMMEDIATELY decided to go for my level one sommelier license.

I had been talking about taking my level one sommelier test for years but something always got in the way. Now, with no more job excuse, I put my foot on the gas. With only one month to study, (way less than I would have liked) I hit the books hard. Immediately, I felt better. I had a concrete purpose, pass this test. It's the complete opposite of acting and writing where each day you can figure out something to pursue but there is never any guaranteed outcome. Trust me, I've been acting and writing in L.A. for ten years and... let's not talk about it. This post is supposed to be about how I'm NOT depressed anymore. 😜 But with this, if I studied hard I WOULD pass the test. And I had to face the facts, there is a huge part of me that likes and needs that kind of stability.

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When Government Agencies Make My Head Explode (and not for the reason you think)

It's 7:38 am. I open a letter from Blue Shield Health insurance which tells me my insurance is being denied/and or cancelled because they have not received my whole payment. Which IS A LIE. And it starts. My heart starts beating faster. I can literally feel the heat run down my veins. My shoulder tightens. I soon grow to the size of The Incredible Hulk. And I basically take on the mentality of this Kramer.

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I am lucky enough to get some government assistance on my health insurance because I'm currently unemployed. This is awesome and I'm totally grateful. Except for the part where I have to rely on a bureaucracy to do something right, and in a timely manner. It also tests my tendencies to want to be in CONTROL OF EVERYTHING!!

Here's the story. I originally called to inquire about the Covered California plans late December. At this point I was on a Cobra plan from my previous job and just getting information. But some IDIOT... wait. I'm sorry. That's not loving or enlightened. Some (grimaces in pain trying to come up with something nice) very misguided lady, who was very busy with other important things so she couldn't fully listen to what I was saying, entered me into the computer with a start date of January 1. But I had just called to get a quote for how much government assistance I qualified for. I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR COBRA THROUGH FEBRUARY.

When I realized this, I called back and some other COMPLETE MORON, I mean super nice lady who thought she was being helpful but didn't know what the hell she was talking about, assured me that this was not a problem because I hadn't even picked a health care plan yet so that didn't matter. For my plan to start March 1 I just needed to pick a plan by February 20. This made perfect sense to me so I continued about my business.

So I did pick a plan early February, and when I went to make the first payment it said I OWED TRIPLE for January, February, and March. How I could pay for the month of January on a plan that I didn't even pick until February 15 is beyond all constraints of logic I possess.  So. First stage of hulkness began and I called Covered California, the government run agency that pays for a portion of health insurance for low income residents. I explained the situation to a really understanding and helpful man, who unbeknownst to me was still a HUGE NITWIT. He said he saw what happened and would amend that plan for a March 1 start date. I went onto my online profile for Covered California and it now said I only owed one payment for my insurance to start March 1. Crisis averted.

Except it wasn't. This agent never contacted the insurance companies with the change (I told you he was a nitwit! I mean, a well meaning man who just didn't know he had to follow through.) So I then start getting letters from the insurance companies saying I owe three months of payments. I STILL want to know how they expect me to pay for January and February when I hadn't even received my health insurance cards, therefore couldn't actually use the product they were selling. If this is how consumerism works, clearly I am doing something wrong. And everyone owes me $25 for my book that's coming out next year. I haven't started it yet, but trust me, it's gonna be GOOD.

So I called Covered California AGAIN. And some nice lady (nice, gotta trust nice, because my brain is screaming HALFWIT) told me that they would "accelerate my claim" and send a letter to the insurance companies. But this morning I open the letter from Blue Shield saying my plan was being cancelled for lack of payment. I literally felt like the floor was splitting open and I was pummeling down into fiery lava. Because, surely, this is what Hell feels like. I immediately pick up the phone to call them but, of course, it's still only7:48 in the morning and they aren't open yet. So. I. Have. To. Wait.

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Can I Work a Miracle?

I've decided to revisit my very first guide on my path to enlightenment. It's called "A Course in Miracles." About 5 years ago my life basically imploded and I was left with a "NOW WHAT??" mentality. Because obviously what I had been doing for the previous 29 years was not working. (If you love reading about other people's problems because it helps you with a perspective on your own... or if you're just a sadist for misery click here to read my original story.)

So I am going to attempt something I've never done before... actually complete "A Course in Miracles" workbook. It's 365 lessons, one each day... FOR A YEAR. Then I'll be able to work miracles like grow 100 dollar bills on the bush outside and get a man to WANT marriage. All jokes, and witchcraft aside (again JOKE), this course is supposed to completely change your mind set once and for all. Something I've been trying to do for years. I think my mascot is the Little Engine that Could. "I think I can, I think I can... I think... it's been five years. I'm gonna need some more fuel. (They use coal right?) Last time I did this course I think I made it to day 280... in TWO YEARS. But I'm feeling so productive with my time management challenge that I'm gonna try it "ONE MORE TIME!" (Cue the Daft Punk song.)

Here's a quick summary of the Course:

1- These exercises don't take a lot of time: PERFECT. Because I've already proven once that I'm a tad lazy.

2- Phase one: Undo the way you currently see now: Good. Will this also take away the view of the messy bedroom behind me?

3- Phase two: Acquire true perception: Which obviously includes me on TV, right? Or at least makes me as cool as Yoda?

4- Don't ever decide for yourself that there are some people, situations, or things that these ideas don't apply to: This means that co-worker you hate and your ex-boyfriend. The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. Basically, the opposite of how we see now.

5- It doesn't matter if you don't understand, or even believe, a concept: Really??? Best part ever. Just by using the exercises every day, meaning and results will follow. "If you build it, they will come." Just remember, whatever the resistance, JUST DO IT.

So to make this a little more fun for everyone, I am attempting to make short videos about my experience. (We will see how consistently I do this because it involves me doing my hair.) I love to play and poke fun at the exercises a little, but I do actually take them very seriously. I just think "all work and no play, makes Alissa a dull girl." I promise I will never come at you in the bathroom with an ax, though. (If you don't get that reference I'm shaking my head at you. Go watch "The Shining." Classic Kubrick.) Also I apologize that this video won't be in the best format. I shot it vertically because social media and I don't vibe. Apparently, you have to shoot it horizontally but once I figured this out I was already done and, well, LAZY.

DAY 1: Nothing I see in this room (or on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything. Basically it tells you to look around your room and for every object you see say "This table does not mean anything." Etc. Here's my adventure:



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Why I Stopped Lecturing Myself

I've never done a daily prompt before, but while browsing my Word Press reader to gain inspiration from all the other fun, witty blogs I follow, I saw this word, LECTURE, in the Daily Prompt and HAD to respond. Because, lately, I've been lecturing myself mercilessly.

Not long ago (the day before Thanksgiving to be exact) I was laid off from my job. I went through a whole range of emotions but ultimately decided this was a GREAT thing. I could do all the things I didn't have time for before. I could make all my dreams come true. Immediately. The sky was the limit.

Except for the fact that two months later, I'm not sure I'm any closer to my dream job, and daily errands are getting in the way of my much coveted writing jobs and acting business plan. And I am stressing. HARD. It's like I'm a kid in a candy shop. But instead of eating too much candy and getting sick, I look at my open schedule and end up banging my head against the wall. I SHOULD be able to blog and promote EVERY day. I SHOULD be able to get all my marketing materials out by now. I SHOULD be starring alongside Andrew Garfield in his next movie like YESTERDAY. All while working out 8 times a week and learning Mandarin. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???  Soon I end up in a cleaning binge (because if I can't control my career maybe I can control the mold in my shower) and end up looking like a crazed Julie Andrews.

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What I Learned On Date Night

It’s Friday night. Led Zeppelin radio is playing through my nifty Beats Pill+. My boyfriend has asked me out on a private dinner date where he is cooking me a short rib dinner, and I don’t have to help AT ALL. Perfection. Until we do that annoying things couples do. We pick a fight over a pan.

Him: “Is this pan oven proof?”

Me: Yeah.

Him: OK.

Me: I think so. I mean, I don’t know. I’ve never actually put it in the oven, but...

Him: So. NO.

Me: STOP YELLING AT ME!!!!

OK. There might have been a little more to it than that. But you know how these things go. Maybe I called him an impatient jerk. Maybe he said I was acting crazy. And quite possibly I then stomped out of the room. Either way, there was intense annoyance over a PAN.

Dynamics of a relationship are always interesting to me. You’re usually not arguing over the thing you’re actually arguing over. And we all develop this little thing called selective hearing. One person says, “Hey, can you turn that music down?” And the other person comes back with, “Stop controlling my life!!!!!” And while this seems like an exaggeration, I guarantee this has happened somewhere. Sadly, I think most relationship fights start over assumptions. Most fights with friends also start over assumptions.  Though I’m waaaay less likely to take it personally when my friend teases me about my sensitivity. If my boyfriend does, there is a full on cry fest over our sushi diner. (I’m chagrined to admit this may have actually happened.)

So how do we navigate relationships?

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